Did you know that God wants us to have an enduring and authentic faith relationship with Him that will stand the test of time? In 2 John 1:9, John writes:
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
He writes that unfortunately some people look like they have taken off in the faith really well, but then don’t continue in the teaching of Jesus. How can that be?
Perhaps they were zealous about their new found faith, telling everyone about it. Perhaps they were hungry to learn more. Perhaps they were the ones who were most excited about entering the place of worship, revelling in the experience.
But the test as to whether they are really in a genuine faith relationship with God is whether or not they continue to obey the teachings of Jesus. He goes on to say, whoever does remain or abide in the teachings of Jesus truly has an authentic relationship with them.
That’s what God wants; for us to be a in an authentic relationship with Him. The evidence of this will be whether we remain in Jesus’ teachings, whether we remain faithful to them.
God wants our lives to reflect an authentic faith where what we do and say stacks up with what we say we believe.
John goes on to give a further warning. He says:
“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” 2 John 1:10-11
Thats pretty heavy!
I don’t think it’s saying that we should shun or be rude to such people, just that we shouldn’t welcome or greet them as a believer; because they are not. This is a call not for us as believers to be judgemental, but to be discerning. And this passage warns us that if we fail to discern and act appropriately, we become aids to such people.
John’s letter is a warning about people who claim to be true believers, but aren’t. It’s a warning for us to be discerning about this, and to look at the fruit that is seen in their lives; whether they live lives that are in sync with the teachings of Jesus.
How many times have people been deceived and pulled away from devotion to Jesus by people who call themselves Christians but whose lives don’t stack up with devotion to the teachings of Jesus?
Paul says it like this in Galatians 5:7: “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?”
When another person who we think to be good Christian friend influences us to gossip, to think sexual immorality is OK, to be dishonest, to slander… the list goes on, but can be summed up as going against the teachings of Jesus, then something is wrong. Be wary about that person, and call out ungodly behaviour or talk for what it is; ungodly behaviour or talk.
1 John makes it so clear that Jesus equates love for Him with obeying His teachings and building that into our lives so that our lives are a letter to the world reflecting Him.
He calls us to be authentic followers of His, not someone who hides behind a religious veneer.
And more than anything, our heavenly Father wants a relationship with each and every one of us. Not a superficial relationship, but one that is authentic and deep. And the evidence of this will be that we remain in Jesus and His teaching.
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